Northeastern province makes headway on rural front

By Zhou Huiying and Tian Xuefei in Fujin, Heilongjiang | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-27 08:21
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A harvester operates at a plantation in Shuangyashan city, Heilongjiang province, this month. WANG SONG/XINHUA

Yueqing, who planted 30 hectares of black soybeans this year, was excited when he first saw a huge Claas combine harvester standing in front of him.

"This newly purchased machine costs around 2 million yuan and it can harvest 50 hectares of corn or 80 hectares of soybeans every day," he said.

"It can save us a significant amount of harvesting time so that we can seize the best sale opportunities. After finishing work on our farm, the machine can help more farmers in surrounding areas."

By 2025, Beidahuang is expected to take the lead nationwide in realizing agricultural modernization, with the goal of achieving a comprehensive annual grain production capacity of 25 million tons.

Heilongjiang has also witnessed remarkable progress after years of efforts to protect its black soil. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization defines such soil as mineral soils with a black surface enriched with organic carbon at least 25 centimeters deep.

With its high density of organic matter, black soil is highly suitable for growing crops. However, long-term cultivation and the overuse of fertilizers have caused degeneration of this soil, threatening the local environment and grain production.

Faced with the loss of black soil due to intensive cultivation and the effects of wind and rain, the Heilongjiang authorities have taken measures such as covering the soil with straw after harvest, increasing the amount of organic fertilizer, and using crop rotation.

Since 2015, 20 pilot projects for the protection and use of black soil have been launched in Heilongjiang, covering an area of 348,400 hectares.

The average depth of topsoil on cultivated land in the province rose from 19.8 cm in 2014 to 23.3 cm in 2019, Heilongjiang Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs data show.

By 2030, the province aims to better protect 9.86 million hectares of black soil, and for its annual grain output to reach 80 million tons.

Wei Wangyu contributed to this story.

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